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Thread: request advice re going electric

  1. #1

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    I've got a bunch of questions I'm hoping someone here can help out with as I'm sure some are dealing with or have already been through #the same. I'm hoping this isn't considered too "off-topic" as my questions concern "Eight-String Electrics" though I realize this category is "Four and Five-String Electrics". First, a little background.

    Though I do like and want to continue to use the mandolin for traditional acoustic material (bluegrass, etc.) I also like rock of all types and misc weird stuff and want to play around and experiment using #the mandolin #the same way one would an electric guitar; running it through distortion, phlangers, delay or other effects, with eventual plans to use it with a POD (or similar).

    At this time I don't want (read: can't really afford) several dedicated decent quality instruments so my plan is to stick with one 8-string acoustic/electric to serve both purposes. At this point I'm leaning toward something like a MK Legacy Evolution Electric.

    Usual mandolin pickup & amplification discussions deal with how pure, clean or true the sound is reproduced. For my purposes, this is not a concern.

    - Does this seem a viable plan? Do most of you using electric use a solid-body?

    -If using it only to run through distortion and such, is there much or any difference in the resulting sound between a solid body and acoustic/electric?

    - I like the idea of the Fishman bridge pickup (as used in the MKs) but won't the tone be significantlly different from the usual placement up closer to the neck?

    - Multiple pickups on a solid-body electric guitar are fairly typical. Is it feasible to mount both types on an acoustic with some extrnal blend control?

    - Again , if using it only to run through distortion and such anyway will there be enough of a difference in the end to even bother?

    - Have any of you yet tried using a POD? Please share your results.

    I'm open to any other general advice, recommendations about what else to consider.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    If you want to run distortion and other electric guitar style effects, you are better off using a magnetic pickup. A lot of the solid body electris use either a P bass pickup or a lipstick style pickup. The pole pieces need to line up under the strings. I have a project in the design stages that puts a Fender Hot Rail in an oval hole mando.

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    Well, think of it this way: If you take a Martin D28 and install a Fishman pick-up in the bridge, do you think it will come anything near sounding like a Fender Stratocaster?
    Get a Mandobird, but check it out carefully first. They tend to vary a great deal. Kentucky has an inexpensive solid-electric now. If you can afford several hundred dollars wait until a used BlueStar MandoBlaster hits Elderly Instruments; you'll be glad you did.
    Wye Knot

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    I think you have to work backward from the sound you want. #I think the best acoustic sound comes from a good mandolin and a good microphone. #Everything else just isn't quite the same. #I also think that most hollow-body electrics sound kind of wimpy as acoustic mandos. #When I was first going electric, I had a Gibson A40 that I added a DeArmond magnetic pickup to. #The pickup clamped on the strings, and gave me a taste of electric sustain, without being a permanent addition to the acoustic mando. #Once I knew I liked the electric sound I checked out hollow body 8-strings, solid-body 8-strings, semi-hollow body 8-strings, and solid body 5-strings. #They all sound slightly different, mainly a function of the pickup. #A solid body (the heavier the better) seems to have more sustain. #If you're trying to play with outrageous effects, you should know that single courses (a 4- or 5- string emando) track better effects-wise than double courses. #I use a POD 2.0 with a 5-string solid body most of the time when I'm jamming with my electric friends. #I love being able to dial in a huge variety of sounds. #You could get an acoustic mando, add a bridge pickup to a replacement bridge, add a DeArmond pickup (if you can find one, they're not made anymore), and mix the two sounds with a preamp. #If you don't like the results, you can always return the mando to its original acoustic format. #Remember that acoustic strings usually have some kind of bronze wrapping on the G and D strings, where electric strings have nickel/iron wrapping, so you might find that it won't sound right if you try and mix the two sounds.
    Just have a good idea of how you want the setup to sound before you start spending money. You can always buy 4 or 5 more mandos later on...
    Forget with the cowbell, already...

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    I was in a similar situation. I had bought a Godin A8. I put it through my pedalboard but did not really sound so great with the effect pedals.

    I went out and played about 150-175 of the Fender electric A style and found a decent player. I replaced their pickup with a seymour Duncan Cool Rails wired in series paralel, so the tone is a push pull pot. When I pull I get a boost for solos. This mandolin sounds great through my pedal board. EB Volume pedal>Buddah Wah>Fulldrive2>superOD>EnvelopFIlter>o ctave>Delay.

    I did have to start using nickel/steel strings when I started using the fendr with the magnetic pickup.

    SO when I want a nice clean mandolin sound I play the Godin direct into a genz benz acoustic amp. I play the modded fender through my pedal board into a twin reverb for great electric tones.

  6. #6
    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    wmr - what envelope filter are you using? I'm starting to get interested in these things...

    Christian
    Christian McKee

    Member, The Big North Duo
    Musical Director, The Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Where the heck did you find 175 Fender A styles and time to play them? Did you bring along hot dogs and marshmallows? That'd give you something to do with the instruments you rejected.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson • Wood • Thormahlen • Andersen • Old Wave • Bacorn • Yanuziello • Fender • National • Gibson • Franke • Fuchs • Aceto • Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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    Went to every music store within 250 miles of NYC. Took me about a year to find one that I actually liked. To be honest I thought I would never find one that played and sounded good but I got lucky. It sounds great with the coolrails as well.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    It might have been more efficient to fly to Korea and try 'em as they came off the line ... if Fender would let you.

    I'm impressed by your brand loyalty, but I couldn't fathom doing this. I'd rather spend the extra money on a handmade instrument than on the time & gasoline required to find a Fender I liked.

    But, to each his own...



    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson • Wood • Thormahlen • Andersen • Old Wave • Bacorn • Yanuziello • Fender • National • Gibson • Franke • Fuchs • Aceto • Three Hungry Pit Bulls

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    It doesn't say much about the make/model, either...
    Forget with the cowbell, already...

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    Well I was not looking specifically for a fender mandolin. I was helping a friend search for equipment. SO I would find the mandolin area and play a bunch of them. I came across a good playing fender and bought it for almost nothing. 130.00 brand new. This one did not sound or play like the others. So I bought it and use it for certain things. I am waiting on a Jon Mann 5 string electric. I should have it in a few weeks. I agree If I spent that much time and money searching for one I could have bought a real nice gibson f.

    Taboot-I use an old 70's MXR envelop filter. It has the Jerry Garcia envelope sound.
    If you are looking to purchase one I suggest getting a discombobulator or a q-tron plus. The old MXR envelopes are hard to come by. Every gig I play I get offered 200.00 to sell mine. I have found a early 80 one but does not even sound remotly the same.

  12. #12
    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    And I forgot to mention earlier: glad to see another person using the octave pedal with the mandolin. I'm using the OC-2, which can handle chording, but also has the standard double octave, single note mode available. I get a lot of mileage out of the polyphonic mode, and occasionally enjoy flipping it over, so it sounds almost like two bassists in the band. That's for when I need to establish TOTAL DOMINATION !!

    Christian
    Christian McKee

    Member, The Big North Duo
    Musical Director, The Oregon Mandolin Orchestra

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